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March 04, 2013

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Well, now I want to see it. Unfortunately, I don't have cable.

I was so terrifically disappointed in this program. Hopes for something really good were high. But after watching just the first hour, I left the rest of it to my wife and went upstairs to watch something else.

I had the same disappointment in the choices of stories told, but, hey, you can't show everything, and the ark scenes were very cool. The thing that disappointed me so strongly was that, in the stories they DID choose, they didn't stay true to the story. They changed so much of the biblical record that if you didn't already know the stories, you'd never guess them from what you saw on the screen.

Sure, you can't show it all, but what you DO show, you should at least get that much right. They failed to do that.

I wonder if they'll do the story with the talking donkey. I also wonder if they'll do the story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale.

I was at work when it came on, so I DVR'd it. My mom was actually texting me questions about whether or not some things were correct or not. Overall, she said she didn't care too much for it--said she was spoiled by the Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston growing up haha!

My wife and I will watch it, though, to see. I am always skeptical of anything that comes on TV these days when it is about Christianity because most times the channels (especially Nat Geo and Smithsonian) are done by liberal "scholars" who try to prove that the Bible isn't history.

Thanks for the review, Melinda! I was hoping STR would weigh in on this.

Perhaps they will do some tie-ins with some of their other shows, like 'Nostradamus Effect' or 'Ancient Aliens' or 'MonsterQuest' or ...

How does the Roman Catholic influence affect this series? I know Roma Downey is a "devout Catholic" and the vast number of "Christians" in America have no idea of the differences between R.C. and biblical Christianity. Does this movie promote the "big tent" mentality that if you say you follow Jesus, that's good enough?

The narrator DID mention that the nations will be blessed by Abraham, near the beginning, but I understand that its easy to miss. Easy to miss in the Bible too, btw.

“…didn't convey the depth of depravity” during the Sodom and Gomorrah sceen is an understatement. The men who came for Lot’s guests were only yelling and nothing was said of wanting “to know” them. It was clearly an attempt to avoid the issue or to call into question the validity of homosexuality as sin. The way it was portrayed gives credit to the argument that God judged the cities for their inhospitality.

I was disappointed. I think because it was overhyped. One of things that I noticed is that they have left out anything and everything that shines a poor light on the biblical characters. Other than Adam and Eve's sin, there is nothing else.

Dreadful in my view. When you have Warren , Jakes and Osteen as some of the advisers , well you are not going to get much. One hour was enough for me , I think I will stick with the good book .

Reg Schofield: How did you find out about the advisors for the movie? I've tried to find that information, but to no avail. But I fully agree with your thinking about Warren, Jakes, and Osteen!

You've captured my concerns, too, Melinda. I was so looking forward to this series...but was so disappointed. I was truly sorry that we had encouraged our church to watch it. I agree with Sam that if you're going to convey the Bible as the legitimate history it is, you can't change the facts.

When they approach Scripture, Hollywood writers have traditionally believed their sense of drama and story are superior to what actually happened. So they change Moses' age or leave out politically incorrect portions that offer the only legitimate motive for some of the strong actions God takes. How would we respond to a supposedly historical treatment of the attempt to impeach President Clinton, if there was no reference to Monica Lewinsky? Could we take seriously a so-called historical treatment of Desert Storm that omitted the issue of "weapons of mass destruction?"

In the advance promotion of this series, we were repeatedly assured that the writers would stay true to the text. Sadly, they did not. The problem with watching a series like this is that people not intimately familiar with the Bible will walk away thinking they now know what happened. This will become their Bible "Cliff Notes" - their substitute for reading the Bible. Should they? No, but many will.

The producers of this series are approaching the Bible like they do a movie treatment of a fiction novel - changing what they like, to fit their idea of what makes for a more entertaining story. But the Bible isn't fiction. It's history. Why would I want to fill my mind with inaccuracies of crucial events that negatively impact my understanding of what actually happened? Why would I want my children or Biblically ignorant friends to ingest such fare? Besides, I believe the writers' "artistic" decisions actually weaken the entertainment value of these events, making them less, rather than more compelling.

You know the thing that hurts me most, though? Melinda alluded to it. They miss the Spirit of the Bible. If a non-believer or truth-seeker tuned in to this series to help them decide what to do with the God of the Bible, I doubt they would feel drawn to Him. God comes off as powerful in this series, to be sure...but not as Someone to Whom you want to entrust your life, not as the loving Father He is. He's portrayed more as the mean despot of Richard Dawkins than the all-powerful loving Father who takes strong measures precisely because He knows best. Before seeing the first installment, I had set my DVR to record every installment of this series. Sadly, after watching what they've done with the very foundation of Scripture, I returned to my DVR and deleted that setting. I will be doing something more productive with my Sunday evenings.

Serious Christian scholars?
Burnett and Downey specifically stated on Fox News that Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, and TD Jakes were their sources.
This is not serious scholarship.

I thought the Bible had some definite positives, but as noted, was lacking in some important aspects. For the Bible illiterate, which the producers sought to reach, possibly, a summary, or overview of each segment based on the overall reason for the Bible, God's plan to redeem mankind from willful sin..working to bring the Messiah to the world through history and workings of the men and woman of God, especially emphasizing through Abraham, not just a "nation", but the promise of "through thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, (reference to the coming Messiah). The actual reading of each of the 10 commandments, would have given people the record of where we "all have sinned", thereby "needing God's forgiveness" expressed through the coming Messiah!

The project has its own website, with the Board of Advisors linked on the About page.

Would like to know if anyone on the board has a true Hebraic understanding of scripture - from looking at those on the list, my guess would be no. This might have helped with conveying the big picture and greatness of God. We miss so much without this foundation.

Roma Downey attends the University of Santa Monica in pursuit of a Masters in Spiritual Psychology. This university was founded on New Age thought. That was enough information to make me question whether this production would be legit. We must put everything up against the Bible to see if it is true. As for the productions theological advisors--well that was a big warning to me to be cautious. Hmm--wonder why they wouldn't choose a pastor like John Macarthur?

Get real people - here is a series about the Bible and people are watching it instead of all the other trash on TV. I find it refreshing to watch a series that is not full of sex, bad language, and fiction that we as a society have come to accecpt, even though it does not completely conform to some of our teachings. For the person that does not have a biblical background, maybe now they will ask some of us concerning what they saw. This is TV, not church or your own personal study. Let's accept it for what it is and what it is promoting instead of picking apart all the details. If TV would have more shows like this then maybe people would accept more biblical truths and not the fiction we get with what is shown today. I give any show an A+ that gives us stories from the Bible. If you want to pick it apart go watch some reality shows that has no meaning at all.

You have to remember that many of the folks posting here are fundamentalist and want the Bible portrayed in "literal" fashion with no artistic license allowed. I am sure many of them are disappointed that the characters don't speak in King James English.
Of course the first thing a fighting fundamentalist will do is question the relationship of the producer (Roma Downy) to the Savior, declaring her New Age or implying that it impossible for a Roman Catholic to be saved. Of course it is important to judge her salvation without ever having spoken to her and thereby violating Jesus command not to self-righteously judge others.
Maybe the worst that should be said is the Roma Downy and her husband are not great producers which has nothing to do with their salvation or their commitment to the Savior.

I had to DVR the first episode, but after reading the above comments, I doubt I will watch it. I, too, was very concerned that accolades by the likes of Warren, Osteen, and a Catholic cardinal were chosen. I was also concerned about the influence of Roman Catholic theology. Therefore, for example, I am not surprised God's covenant with Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac were underplayed. The RC theology teaches Replacement Theology, so it does not acknowledge that God's plan for His people Israel, based on the biblical covenants, is yet to be fulfilled. They also miss the countless prophecies that from Genesis 3:15 on, in progressive revelation, refer to the Messiah -- the "Red Thread" of Scripture. The question remains, what kind of fruit will this series bear for people of all backgrounds? Sincere people can be sincerely offbase.

@ Larry, Or maybe the series is so wrought with problems, passing over sin, God's promises, etc. that the people are making connections why that was. Certainly someone who has Catholic and New Age influences is going to portray Biblical truths in a skewered fashion that lies out of bounds of Orthodoxy. If what you mean by literal is accurate than I could assure you that God Himself wants the Bible portrayed literally. It is not for us to take literary license unless of course you think the Bible is simply a piece of literary work and not God's Word.

Hard to please everyone but I agree with the comment that this is a lot better to watch than most of the terrible stuff on TV these days. Hopefully, it will encourage people to read the Bible and learn more. I look forward to the next episodes.

I keep reading these post and I which everyone could see that this is a "TV" series about the bible. Who cares that it may have Catholic overtones, or the RC theology, or that it didn't show or talk about some of your favorite bible stories. The sacrifice of Issac was not underplayed - it showed a father who deeply cared for his son and did not want him to be the sacrifice. This is a 10 hour series and it is impossible to please everyone and to show everything about the bible. Enjoy it for what it is - a TV series - don't you have something better to complain about that a TV series that is clean to watch and not filled with trash. Do you complain when they have series about evolution - I didn't think so.

Cool special effects. And I'm praying that this will encourage people to read the Bible. I recognize that they can only show a few highlights compared to what is in the Bible, but I still think they left out lots of important stuff. For example, they don't show much of the main characters' sinfulness, which shows how much we need a Savior. e.g. Noah's drunkenness, Abraham lying about Sarah being his sister to save himself, Lot's offering of his daughters, Aaron's party at the foot of Mt. Sinai that included the golden calf. I was especially bothered by the "I am" episode - seemed like they made it an answer to a different question than what's in the Bible. I wish they had cut out the non-Biblical dialogue and some of the violence and added some things that are important to the covenant.

I agree with Linda concerning the missed opportunity to share God's great plan of redemption. So disappointed that there was no mention of the Promised Messiah (Genesis 3:15) after portraying Adam & Eve's sin.
And I really don't understand why they strayed from the Biblical text in so
many places. Why a 'Ninja' angel in Sodom & Gommorah? Yikes!

@ Bob, Let me ask you this with all due respect; if the Bible series misses the whole point, then what is the point? I hope you understand this, if not, then we might as well point people to the Mormon TV Network (BYUB). They have wholesome content- not Biblical, but you sure won't find nudity, cussing, drugs, etc.

I was feeling exactly the same thing about them not tying in each story to the "Big Picture". I think the Hope Movie (http://www.thehopeproject.com/?language=en) does a better job of tying everything together. I wish they'd been the ones who put together this series.

This is a TV SERIES people!! It is not going to be the inerrant Word of God - it comes out of Hollywood for goodness sake. Accept it for what it is - maybe it will catch the interest of an atheist or someone else who is seeking so that they can further investigate. By so many Christians naysaying about this point or that you paint us as a bunch of hypercritical judges that no one can ever measure up to. If it gets people talking and asking questions I think that is a wonderful opportunity to engage them in the deeper truths of the Word of God.

If the "world" loves this show, then there is something wrong with it. I noticed errors in it while viewing it as well. I suggest you find the sections of the bible they are showing and read them for yourselves to get the full picture or better yet.......what God himself has graciously written for us. Stay in Christ. Faith, Hope, and Love but the greatest of these is Love.

I accept the correction of several of you who've pointed out that we may be too harsh in our judgments of this effort - especially because we haven't viewed the entire series. Perhaps the overall impact will glorify God. I pray it will!

I allowed my too-high expectations to set me up for disappointment - and unfortunately, used this forum to express it. I should save that kind of passion for those who are doing something worse than trying to illustrate the Bible. This I know about God's Word: Even when only portions of it are accurately portrayed, it has transformative power. Some of the worst Bible translations in third world countries are still enabling people to find Christ.

Please forgive me for the judgmental spirit in my earlier post. I wish I could find a way to delete it.

You make good points Melinda, but really, should we expect any more than what we got?

I wonder how many people watched it (very high viewership) to see if there was something to bash Christians for. In other words, how many homosexuals watched it to see if Sodom and Gomorrah would do the "bring the men out here so that we may know them" thing? So that they could then accuse the film makers of hate? On the other hand, they did not include the "here, take my daughters instead". And that can be rightly argued as to its real meaning.

In any case, this was exactly what I expected. As pastor, I counseled God's flock that the big picture of the bible would not be brought out - The Kingdom (Rulership) of God (see Bible Fast Forward resource on this site-we just started it--very timely!If you don't have it GET IT)

However, watching it provides an opportunity to be able to discuss the over arching theme of the bible, and the means God uses to accomplish that (especially the gospel).

Knowing the truth of God in His word makes viewing it kind of fun. I like the special effects. I like that the actors are gritty and dirty--you can almost smell Abraham's sweat! Yes he was about 45 years younger than scripture says, but still--covered in Mesopotamian dirt!!!!!

Watch it so that you can stand to reason with those who do not know what God is up to in scripture, and tell them "Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again three days later, in accordance with the scripture!"

I did like the way they portrayed the angels! Much better than the effeminate portrayal of harp carrying wimps that we're used to!

As with many Hollywood portrayals of the biblical narrative,I am not surprised they got it wrong in many different ways. From what I have been reading here in the posts it has become clear to me that they have stripped the bones out of the body of the text. When one does that, he is left with a shapeless unidentifiable blob of flesh on the ground. You might see an eye here, an ear there, bits of hair sticking out over there, a finger poking out in a weird direction there, but you really can't make out how all of it fits together or functions, if it functions at all. To think that anyone would be attracted by such a mess, for anything other than to see how swiftly it can be incinerated in order not to offend the eye and effect the gag reflex, is kind of beyond me. For those of you holding out hope that this will attract interest in the biblical accounts, perhaps for those with a bent for the macabre, looking for confirmation of their biases against those accounts. I suspect that the vast majority will walk away from the corpus of the work, thinking that their original superficial understanding of the narrative wasn't that far off the mark and this series confirms it. Thus they can smugly walk away thinking they have nothing to worry about. This is the danger of the blind leading the blind and this is the reason why we should never take the treatment of the bible lightly. After all, just how many plagues are ascribed or have his name taken out of the book of life to those who dare to change the word of god.

I think this is serious business and one should not take god's word lightly. God did not grant license for us to change that which he authored and Hollywood is no privileged exception.

As always anything on the history channel that portrays anything about God or the Bible, I was disappointed. For instance about Sodom when the angels came to rescue lot and his family. The movie showed the angels all beat up and bleeding and begging Lot to help them so Lot pulled them into his house. The Bible says just the opposite it was the angels who pulled Lot into the house and they weren't weak sniveling angels like the movie portrayed. These 2 angels came to remove Lot and his family and destroy the city they were powerful creatures sent from God.

I've yet to see an accurate account of the Bible on any film on the history channel and this one was no different. Just because they got some things right is no excuse for purposely altering key facts of the Bible. A big mistake I noticed early on was about the angels who rescued Lot and his family. The movie showed the angels sword fighting with the townspeople and one was bleeding from a head wound. Then they showed the angels begging Lot for help and he pulled them into his house. The bible says nothing about them fighting with the townspeople but simply blinding them and it was the angels who pulled Lot back in the house not the other way around. After I saw that I knew the history channel was up to it's usual anti-God stance and I changed the channel.

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